Cream PR share useful PR tips for SME's

We live in an age of information overload…so it’s vitally important that your company’s press releases can cut through the clutter of online and offline noise.

Identifying news, writing a good release and gaining coverage in the right places can give a business a distinct competitive advantage.

In a new monthly column for Yorkshire Business Network, Barnsley-based PR firm Cream share their dozen top PR tips for SME’s.

  1. Make sure your news really is ‘news’. Is it new, is it interesting? Does it break the ‘so what’ barrier? And is the story new?  Think creatively because journalists aren’t in the business of free advertising.
  2. Agree on the key messages you want to communicate through the media. Pick three and stick to them.
  3. Make sure you’ve covered the basics – the Who, What, When, Where and Why. Try to get these in the first couple of paragraphs of your press release.
  4. Get the timing and planning right. Send your release to journalists in good time. If you are releasing it after an event make sure it’s released swiftly. It’s yesterday’s headlines if it’s three months old.
  5. Get to know your target media including deadlines. Sign up for their newsletters/digests. Familiarise yourself with their formats and look for opportunities to join the discussion or contribute content. Remember, no outlet is too small. Free papers and online forums are often more widely read than the bigger regional papers.
  6. Make friends with journalists. Find them and follow them on Twitter. Tell them what you’re doing; ask if it’s of interest and what you could do to make it of interest to them. Emailing and hoping for the best won’t work!
  7. Always ensure good quality and hi res images are available. Tell journalists in your emailed release that images are available or send low res images to give them a flavour. This will avoid you clogging up their inbox.
  8. Include full contact details on your release and say when spokespeople are available for interview/filming. Prepare to be available.
  9. Look out for national angles your company can piggyback. These could be regional newslines such as economic surveys, unemployment statistics or national stories such as Euro 2012 or the Olympics. Adding an interesting local angle, analysis or comment to a timely national story can prove an effective way of gaining coverage and raising profile.
  10. Remember to include relevant quotes from relevant people, particularly for regional releases. A Chief Executive based in Brighton probably won’t be of interest…but a regional manager in York might just swing it.
  11. Don’t get disheartened. Journalists get hundreds of emails each day.  News is often overtaken by events. Your story may have been lined up to be printed/broadcast only to be pulled for a breaking news story. Don’t give up. Just because it isn’t today’s news doesn’t mean it can’t be tomorrow’s.
  12. No release is a wasted release. Host it on your own website and share links to it through social media.